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"Digital solutions for health and care could truly revolutionise health and care services and have the potential of helping millions of people enjoy better health"

"Digital solutions for health and care could truly revolutionise health and care services and have the potential of helping millions of people enjoy better health"


Andrzej Rys, European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, talks about Digital solutions remarking the importance of ERNs

Andrzej Rys, the European Commission's Director responsible for health systems, medical products and innovation at the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, has been interviewed about the benefits and opportunities of digitalisation, as well as its challenges.

According to Andrzej Rys, investing in digital health is crutially important due to its capacity to revolutionaise health care as we know it nowadays, allowing on the one hand the provision of care of people travelling accross borders while in addition ensuring the provision of best quality of care to every patient independently from their country of residence. 

Andrzej remarks here the importance of ERNs: “This is the beauty of the European Reference Networks, which allow rare disease patients to get expert advice from specialists all over Europe without having to travel - they can get virtual consultations through an EU-level platform. The knowledge travels, not the patient.”

In this context, Andrezj explains in this interveiw that the Commission adopted a three-part plan for the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market in 2018:

  • First pillar promotes better access to and exchange of citizens' health data: Five Member States started to exchange patients' health data across borders between pharmacies (ePrescriptions) and hospitals for emergency cases (Patient Summaries); while in parallel, the the Commission adopted a Recommendation on a European Health Record Exchange Format to extend the set of data included in the Patient Summaries to include things like tab tests, images and discharge letters.
  • Second pillar improves the exchange of data for research purposes. As example, 21 Member States have committed to building a research cohort of at least one million sequences genomes in the frame of "One Million Genomes Declaration" 
  • Third pillar encourages more people to make use of digital health technology and aims to increase their digital knowledge and skills.

Undoubtedly, the sharing and exploitation of the multiple sources of health data may directly accelerate rare disease research and transform delivery of care for rare diseases patients, currently undermined due to lack of interoperability of infrastructures or lack of mutual codes of conducts for the safe exchange of personal data Looking into the future among the main reasons. To tackle this challenge, Andrezj explains that the Commission is working with the Member States to create a European common health data space, to share and give access to data for care and research with full respect of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and under strict security rules allowing its query and mined by national authorities and different stakeholders for everyone's benefit.

Find the whole interview at the EC website! 

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